Woman spared prison after family fraud

York Crown Court
York Crown Court

A woman has been spared prison despite stealing over £17,000 from a bank account belonging to her father-in-law who was suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Victoria Eve Swales, 39, also transferred cash from her husband’s account into that of her father-in-law’s to 
enable her to withdraw vast sums.

York Crown Court heard she blew about £18,000 over five months on what she claimed were household goods and everyday essentials, but there was no evidence to support or deny this.

This was despite having no financial worries thanks to husband Wayne Swales’ successful scaffolding business.

She was arrested after her husband, left in financial ruin, became suspicious about mystery cash transfers from his account to his father’s.

His wife, of East Way, was charged with fraud, criminal transfer of property and theft between May and October 2014. She admitted all three offences.

Prosecutor John Bull said Wayne Swales, one of three sons who run PS Scaffolding on Guisborough Road, took on responsibility for his father’s care, but, because of his busy work schedule, the onus fell on his wife to take care of the pensioner’s household chores and shopping errands.

In July 2014, two months into the scam, Arthur Swales died, leaving the door further ajar for the defendant’s heinous plot which came to light when a forged cheque bounced.

Wayne Swales said: “It has left me in financial ruin and her actions have destroyed me mentally. I’ve been left with debts of thousands of pounds. I’m financially crippled.”

Swales was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, appointments at the Women’s Community Project and 200 hours’ unpaid work.